Between The Lines

In asking for a refund from the state for a fine it paid voluntarily last year, the Liquor Control Board for Worcester County (LCB) seems to be revealing a reckless disregard for its perception, which is not exactly pristine at the moment.

The LCB’s request this week was widely discounted as a desperate last act and one that clearly irked Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has been blunt in his criticism of the LCB since they were found last year to be in violation of several state laws governing it.

In an interview this week with Bryan Russo’s Coastal Connection radio show on the local NPR affiliate (find it on 88.3FM), Franchot took the gloves off, criticizing the LCB on several fronts. It’s worth noting here the LCB’s letter requesting the returned $16,000 fine and questioning the Comptroller’s Office’s ability to even administer the fine was sent to Attorney General Doug Gansler, who could be a potential foe of Franchot’s in the governor’s race in 2014.

Here’s my favorite part of Franchot’s comments:

“[The LCB]is somewhat of a rogue operation … that did whatever it felt it wanted to, and had this unbelievable sense of entitlement, discriminated against businesses down there in Ocean  City, and it just amazes me that they would ask for the money back … that takes some arrogance right there … but the fact that the County Commissioners would decide to go in the direction of getting more involved is even more outlandish considering the general direction of the country right now,” Franchot said.

The mere prospect of the nationally-known Dew Tour has put the resort area in a sort of frenzy, and the hype is understandable. This event will have a huge impact on the town.

What makes landing the event so appealing is not the crowds it will bring with it. Surely, some people will come to town exclusively to participate in the event and observe, but Ocean City will already be packed the fourth weekend in July, no matter if the Dew Tour is here or not. That’s what’s slightly unfortunate with the entire situation. Ocean City doesn’t need it the last two weekends in July and the first two weekends in August, but that’s not something officials can control, and they would be crazy to not want to bring it here.

What’s huge about this potential event is the exposure and the approximately $6 million (estimated by town tourism folks) in TV advertising and marketing it will give the town.

MGH Advertising President Andy Malis recently said scoring the tour would “be a resort-altering event.” I hope we get to find out if that’s true.

The Berlin Mayor and Council announced this week its plan to use the Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) organization to coordinate youth related projects for the town.

Several weeks ago, the council began seeking to hire a single person to administer youth activities throughout town. However, Teresa Fields, executive director of WYFCS, approached the assembly with the suggestion that instead of hiring one person part time, it could instead contract the services of her entire organization.

There was some initial worry that WYFCS was too broad a program and that Berlin youth might become marginalized. But Fields convinced the council that her organization would be able to handle the attention specific duties and focus on Berlin while remaining involved in all of their other projects.

“I really think this has a lot of potential and promise for youth in the community,” said Mayor Gee Williams in supporting the plan.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.